Cardiff new boy De Beer targets more derby success
Having had a wet, windy and winning first taste of a Welsh derby in the BKT URC, new Cardiff Rugby fly-half Tinus de Beer is hoping for different conditions and a different style of game this weekend – but with another triumph against local rivals.
The South African playmaker landed four shots at goal to help the visitors from the Arms Park secure a 16-9 victory over the Dragons at Rodney Parade last Sunday.
Next up, he will be heading west for Saturday evening’s meeting with the Scarlets and more of the derby day atmosphere.
He says the hard-fought victory over the Dragons was very welcome after a last gasp defeat at home to Benetton in Round 1. “It was a different bunch of boys in the changing room,” said the 27-year-old from Pretoria.
“The week before, we got in and heads were hanging. We knew we let that game go, slip out of our hands. We learned from that, turned the tide and got the win. It was massive for the boys to get a victory. The whole week, we had spoken about this is our derby.
“It was very hard out there – contact points, breakdowns, wind, rain. In those situations, you mostly just rely on the forwards. Back in South Africa, we always say the forwards carry the piano and the backs play it. All credit to the forwards, they carried the piano for us – breakdowns, scrums, lineouts – and us backs, we just played it!
“To get my first league win in a Cardiff jersey, it was just special. The boys stuck in until the end and we got the result. The boys are happy, the coaches looked happy, I am happy to get the four points and now we take on the Scarlets. That’s another big game for us and we have to step up again.
“We are looking to play an exciting game of rugby. If the wind and the rain allows that, hopefully we can put more tries on the board. That’s ultimately why we play the game, to be exciting, to be brave and pounce on opportunities. Maybe this week we can do that.”
Having missed two successive penalties in the second half against the Dragons, De Beer held his nerve to land the kick that took Cardiff clear. “As a kicker, you have got the elements to deal with, the wind, it’s raining. I think it’s just going back to the basics,” he said.
“That’s why we practice it week-in, week-out, Monday to Friday. It’s just having confidence as well. You miss a few, but you keep knocking on that door. You have to be brave and step up and take those kicks. You get one, you lose one, that’s just how it goes. I was really thrilled I could get that last one for the team to give us that buffer.”
Born, raised and educated in the South African capital of Pretoria, De Beer has had a passion for rugby from a young age. “I probably started playing at about six or seven,” he recalls. “I think the first present I got was probably a rugby ball. I just fell in love with the sport from day one, from since I can remember.
“Obviously I am not that big now, but at a young age I was really skinny, so there wasn’t really a place for me in the forwards. So it was basically between scrum-half and fly-half and I just thought I would have a crack at fly-half. I just love playing there, being in control of things.”
Coming up through the Blue Bulls system, he represented South Africa at Schools and U20s level, going on to have spells with the Griquas and Pumas.
Now he is looking to make his mark in Wales. “I always wanted to go abroad and play rugby there,” he explained. “When I had the contract from Cardiff in front of me, it was an easy decision. It’s a great club, rich in tradition and rugby heritage.
“There are so many big names that have played here, people like Jonah Lomu. It was like a dream come true to sign for the club.”
De Beer looks to be a very decent acquisition based on his performances so far. With ball in hand, he challenges the line and has an excellent offloading game, while he showed the full range of his kicking ability against the Dragons with a series of delicate dinks over the top, raking touchfinders and probing cross-kicks.
Reflecting on how he has developed as a player, he says: “A few years back, I was completely just a kicking fly-half, driving the team forward with the boot.
“But then I had to learn the hard way that’s not where the game is going. More teams are now looking for a fly-half that can kick and run and make good decisions on the front foot.
“I have spent a lot of time on the attacking side of the game, not neglecting the kicking side, but having a more open approach to running or kicking. I think it’s about having a good balance between the two. That’s ultimately what a good fly-half is.
“I have learned a lot of lessons through the years. I am more mature now and really calm.
“I want to keep driving the team forward and be a voice on the field, be a leader. It’s about having an overall game and being consistent week-in, week-out, just performing and driving the team to victories. Winning is important. I like to win.”
He added: “We need to be competitive in every game we go into. When teams play against us, we want them to know we are going to be coming for them and it’s not going to be a walkover. We are going to be stuck in it and be competitive until the 80th minute. I think that’s what you can expect from the boys this season.”
Having arrived in June, the 5ft 9ins, 13st 10lbs fly-half has settled in well over the last few months. “The club has been so supportive, assisting me with everything that needed to be done admin-wise and the boys are phenomenal,” he said.
“It just makes it easier for a guy coming from another country, stepping in. Everyone has been so welcoming. I have completely embraced it here and I’m looking to throw myself into every little battle that I can.”
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